Beyond the Pitch

July Founders’ Lunch Podcast Recap with CropZilla


Something special is happening in Columbus. Last year CBUS was named the Fastest Growing City for Startup Activity. This year, we’ve already been ranked #1 for scaling startups and named by CB Insights as the most active investor in Ohio.

Press like this is starting to drive inbound calls. All our boats are floating up.

CropZilla, a young company that provides a tool for strategic decision-making for farmers, isn’t just floating. CropZilla is flying. CropZilla Co-founder and COO Dale Jefferson offered these tips during the July 20 Founders’ Lunch at Rev1 Labs.

  1. Build a solid founding team that knows how to build something—with industry, functional, entrepreneurial, and corporate experience.

“It’s important to have someone on the team to really knows the market you are trying to disrupt. Brian Watkins, CEO, is a sixth generation farmer. He is our stereotypical customer. We built our solution around features that help people like him.”

  1. You don’t have to have a finished product to start selling. CropZilla began as an idea in 2012 to help Watkins meet some challenges on his farm. By 2014, the team was writing code and had a prototype.

“We got feedback on our prototype, and then the dog caught the car.” In about 18 months, CropZilla has signed up 30+ clients. Our smallest is 1,200 acres; our largest is 12,000.”

  1. Sell Fearlessly as early as possible.

“You don’t have to have a product to start selling. You can start selling based on a demo. Trying to go to a customer, to get them to pay you for something, makes some entrepreneurs uneasy. You have to get over that. The first step in starting a company or raising money is selling fearlessly. You are going to get rejected; you are going to look like an idiot sometimes. Get over it. The fact that we have customers gave CropZilla an edge in the capital markets.”

Enjoy the complete Founders’ Lunch discussion and audience Q/A below.


Register for the August Founders’ Day Lunch, featuring Mike Witting, CTO, Updox here.

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